The Role of the Online Instructor as a Guide on the Side

The Role of the Online Instructor as a Guide on the Side

Margaret Mazzolini (Swinburne University of Technology, Australia) and Sarah Maddison (Swinburne University of Technology, Australia)
Copyright: © 2006 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-962-5.ch015
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Abstract

We present research results and advice on the role of the online instructor in relation to a particular example of technology-supported learning and teaching — the use of asynchronous discussion forums. Pedagogical issues and studies discussed here are based on six years of designing, coordinating, and teaching into Swinburne Astronomy Online (SAO), an online international program. We discuss some implementation issues associated with the use of asynchronous forums and the induction of instructors, plus the role of the online instructor as a “guide on the side.” As an example of issues involved in maintaining a constructive online learning environment, we discuss strategies used to accommodate students with varying degrees of prior learning. We also summarise results of our research on student-instructor interactions, plus feedback on students’ and instructors’ perceptions of the online experience. The results of this research are used to inform the induction and mentoring of instructors in SAO.

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